The medical literature has been busy with the latest developments in the fight against calcification, including the recent publication of the first-ever comprehensive review of the field by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
But the most important scientific finding of all, according to the new meta-analysis, was that calcium deficiency is associated with the development of a new type of heart disease called bradycardias.
The new study, published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, finds that when people have a higher body mass index (BMI), their risk of developing bradycardsia increases.
This is a major finding for the growing number of researchers, clinicians and patients who are concerned about the increased risk of this rare heart disease.
“Calcium is a very critical nutrient in your body,” says lead author Dr. Robert C. S. Hahn, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
“We know that there is a relationship between BMI and calcification and heart disease risk.
This study was the first study to directly examine this relationship.”
The study involved nearly 7,500 men and women, who were followed up for five years from the age of 22 to 70.
They were followed for heart disease and the development or progression of coronary artery disease (CAD) or myocardial infarction (MI) and for cardiovascular disease (CHD) and stroke.
They had their blood pressure measured, cholesterol levels measured and a history of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure assessed.
Researchers also assessed the risk of stroke, hypertension and diabetes.
A total of 3,904 men and 5,959 women died during the study period.
There were differences in the relationship between calcium intake and risk of brady cardsia according to BMI, with people who were at the highest risk having a higher risk of calcification.
But in the case of people at the lowest risk, there was no significant association between calcium intakes and risk.
For example, the highest calcium intake was associated with a 32 percent increased risk.
But people who had the lowest calcium intake had a 32.7 percent increase.
“The findings of this study provide the first direct evidence of an association between high calcium intakes from processed foods and brady cardias,” says Dr. John R. Wiesman, the co-director of the Stanford Prevention and Health Research Center.
The study also found that people who have high levels of calcium from dairy products have a greater risk of being diagnosed with brady.
“These results provide important evidence for the need to encourage people to eat foods with lower calcium intakes,” says Suresh R. Varma, a co-author of the study.
People who eat more meat, eggs, fish, and poultry have a 50 percent increased likelihood of developing the disease.
The authors caution that the association between bone mineral density and bradyscaption is still under investigation.
“Our study was designed to test the hypothesis that calcium could cause calcification,” says Hahn.
“If calcium is not a primary risk factor, the evidence suggests that dietary calcium is a potential risk factor.”
The researchers also recommend that people reduce their calcium intake from foods high in fat and cholesterol and from dairy foods.
“Many dietary guidelines recommend that calcium should be consumed in a low-calorie or lower-fat form, and we suggest that people focus on the consumption of foods with a high content of calcium,” says Wiesmans.
This meta-study was published in the journal Circulation.
Source: Stanford University article